You Can’t Always Tell Who is the Strong One

For yet in a very little while, the coming One will come and not delay.  But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he draws back, I have no pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:37-38

Righteous people live by faith.  Unrighteous people take care of themselves.

Righteous people recognize their need and humbly ask for God’s strength.  Unrighteous people are proud and are repelled by the thought of dependency.

Righteous people prove their faith by persevering in tribulation.  Unrighteous people embrace apostasy when, under pressure, they go back to their old lives.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been surprised more than once by who is strong and who is weak.  I remember childhood bullies.  I’ve had a few of them and I saw them as giants; strong and formidable.  With hindsight though, I see that my bullies were never strong enough to act alone.  They needed to have a group around them to empower them.  Weak indeed.

When I became an adult, I learned more about the strong and the weak through watching good and bad leaders.  I surmised that those who had unwavering opinions and were unwilling to compromise were strong.  People who worked for them had to agree with them on every policy and doctrine.  I know now that these characteristics were signs of weakness.  The louder the bullhorn and the more demanding the tyrant, the weaker they probably were.  Under pressure, everyone knew to duck.

I believed that the weak people were the quiet ones in the group.  They listened more than they talked.  They spoke of their hard times.  They weren’t above asking for prayer. They weren’t the first ones to volunteer to lead but when asked, they did it well and without fanfare.  Under pressure, they remained steady and everyone knew they could trust them.

Today’s scripture reaches back to quote the book of Habakkuk where God is speaking.  What does it mean when God says that someone will draw back, only to experience His displeasure?  This refers to people who appeared to be true in their faith but with the advent of persecution, they threw in the towel and went back to their old lives.  They quickly embraced apostasy.

There’s a lot to think about here.  How do others experience you?  Would they call you strong because you seem self-assured?  Would they call you weak because you are quiet and often share your struggles?  The bigger question is this ~ How does God experience you?  Does He see you as beautifully dependent on Him or does He see you as angry and entitled when things don’t go well for you?  Yes, the journey of faith takes us all through some bad days.  We can have some fainting moments.  True believers lose heart but we don’t defect.  Wouldn’t think of it!  God’s displeasure is reserved for those who pose as believers but suffering proves them to be otherwise.

My strength is real when my strength is in You.  Amen

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